Latvian to conduct U.K.‘s Birmingham orchestra

A 28-year-old Latvian conductor will become the new music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Andris Nelsons will lead the United Kingdom-based orchestra beginning with the 2008-2009 season.

Nelsons, at present the principal conductor with the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany, will replace Sakari Oramo as the CSBO’s music director, according to a press release from the orchestra. Oramo is stepping down after 10 years leading the Birmingham symphony.

Nelsons’ career has included playing the trumpet with the Latvian National Opera Orchestra and winning the Latvian Grand Music Award in 2001 for outstanding achievement in music. He has studied conducting with Alexander Titov in St. Petersburg, Russia, and also with Latvia-born conductor Mariss Jansons.

From 2003-2007, he was principal conductor of the Latvian National Opera Orchestra.

“We are delighted to welcome Andris as our new music director,” Stephen Maddock, the Birmingham orchestra’s chief executive, said in a prepared statement. “He is a hugely impressive musician, with a really wide range of strengths in all kinds of repertoire. His versatility, his fresh and insightful musicianship, and his growing international reputation, together with his interest in our choral and educational activities, make him ideally placed to lead the CBSO forward after Sakari Oramo’s outstanding 10-year tenure.”

Nelsons’ first public performance with the Birmingham orchestra was in November. He also conducted the Birmingham orchestra in a recording, with Latvian violinist Baiba Skride, of works by Russian composer Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky. The compact disc, titled Souvenir Russe, was released in January.

Andris Nelsons

Andris Nelsons becomes music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra beginning with the 2008-2009 season. (Photo by Marco Borggreve)

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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